Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Song Share: The Tragically Hip - Locked in the Trunk of a Car

Still tough to think he's gone...

Friday, October 20, 2017

6 Year Old Invites Teddy Bridgewater to His Birthday

This superfan created a video to invite his hero to his birthday:

So what happened?  This happened:

NFL players are taking a pretty bad rap nowadays.  Here's to one of the good guys.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

RIP Gord Downie

Gord Downie, the lead singer and soul of one of the biggest bands in Canada finally succumbed to his brain cancer and passed away yesterday.

He was 53.  My age.

The Tragically Hip is Canada's version of U2, with Downie playing the role not only of Bono, but that of Dylan, Springsteen, and Jim Morrison all rolled into one.  He was musician, magician, showman, poet, and the voice of a whole damn country.  

How much did he mean?  Here's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting the press and talking about Gord:

I had the pleasure of seeing the Hip three times in my life, and was blown away by Downie's stage presence.  He was a live wire - jerking and jiving the whole night.  Likewise, he spewed out stream of consciousness jargon throughout the concert; stuff that made no sense but perfect sense at the same time.  He was a lyrical gymnast and often replaced words in his own songs - ones that still rhymed with the original, but nuanced the song all the more.  

I've loved this band since the 80's and across thirteen different albums.  I still remember when I first heard Up to Here - where I was, what the day was like - and thinking "who the hell ARE these guys?" Since then, they've been a soundtrack to my adult life.

I got the news while at lunch, sitting in my car and checking the web.  Like Trudeau, I cried.

I leave you with my favourite song (and given their library, that's saying a lot and I spelled "favourite" that way for a reason), and a performance that is classic Gord Downie.

Goodbye, Gord, and thank you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Aaron Rodgers Has No Gripe

After being hit by Anthony Barr, Aaron Rodgers popped up and started barking about the hit being unfair.  Likewise, countless Green Bay fans went to social media to accuse the same.

Here's the hit:

A couple of things:

  • The hit was clean.  Note that it didn't draw any kind of penalty, despite the proximity of officials.
  • Rodgers is a mobile quarterback.  He buys time to make plays by moving around the pocket, just as he did on this play.  Quarterbacks that move get hit.
  • After living in Green Bay for 7 years and watching this team way more closely than I'd ever like to admit, Rodgers has been hit a ton.  The offensive line seems to have always been an afterthought for the team, and the man has taken a massive amount of punishment.  If it wasn't the Vikings this week, it was just a matter of time.
It's easy to try and pin this on Barr.  The fact is Rodgers takes a ton of punishment, usually every game, and his number finally came up.

I take no joy in this.  He's the best quarterback in the league - a league which is suffering from a massive blow to its brand.  While indeed it is bad for Green Bay, it is bad as well for the NFL and for football fans across the land.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Senor Flavio - Dulce Babalu

I have no idea what they're saying, but still, this is one fun little song to put summer to bed:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

11 Year Old Girl Gets Adopted

Mass shootings.  Hollywood sexual abuse.  North Korea with nukes.  Political hatred.  Racial strife.

Then this.

This is what pure joy looks like, and we need a good firm dose of this now more than ever:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Minnesota Duck Hunting Season Status in Pictures

Three weeks into it, and it's been a strange duck season thus far.  Here are some photos that have captured the activity:

Opening day was fabulous, and thank goodness there were teal around.  Here's a limit of the little ducks, obtained in a couple hours of shooting.

Weather has been an issue.  On opening weekend we were treated to a rare rainbow as seen from the duck blind.

Speaking of weather, this is what things looked like the second weekend.  Needless to say, we didn't even go out that morning.

Last weekend I decided for forgo duck hunting altogether and opted for fishing for walleyes on Leech.  Here's my reward for that decision.

We're not quite half way through the season.  Hopefully, things will be picking up for us here shortly.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Mary Jane's Last Dance

One of the best Petty songs, and certainly the very best Petty video.

We will miss him a ton:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Five Funerals

I returned to Minnesota in March, and in those seven months I'll have attended five funerals.  Three were parents of friends and/or coworkers, one was a friend and partner, and the other was the aunt of my wife.

Twenty-five years ago I was kept busy with weddings.  In fact, it seemed there was one every other week there for while.  Then it was kids - births and baptisms.  Now it is funerals.

I know it's part of life, but it is amazing to see how these are piling up.  

I liked the other stuff a lot better.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Goodbye Tom Petty

In another big loss to the music world, Tom Petty has passed on.  

While not a huge Petty fan, I'm not sure one could be a music fan and not appreciate what Petty accomplished.  Here are some things that really stood out for me on him:

  • The longevity is his career is striking.  He came of age in the height of the FM movement (his classic Breakdown was featured in the FM movie soundtrack) and he maintained relevancy all the way through.
  • He was a music fan.  A listen to his show on Sirius radio showed the depth of his knowledge and appreciation.  His musical tastes were pretty vast, and I actually picked up on some folks via listening to his show.
  • I don't care what you say about the Travelling Willburys, but I flat loved them.  And what was not to love?  George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty.  Name me another band that had sold more albums individually than these guys.  They were the epitome of a supergroup, and while their songs weren't deep, they were catchy as hell.
  • His other collaborations were renown.  Stevie Nicks, Prince, Johnny Cash are some of the more obvious ones, but there are many others, including his side project with Mudcrutch:

Prince, Walter Becker, and now Petty.  I'm getting tired of writing these tribute pieces...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Thoughts on Las Vegas

The largest mass killing on US soil.  Nearly 60 killed, and 500+ injured.  It's hard to wrap one's head around the evil that was brought forth via this act.

There are a lot more questions than answers.  That will likely be the case for a good, long while.  That being said, there are some thoughts that we have here that we'd like to share:

  • Given the audio of the shooting, there is no question that the shooter was using a fully automatic weapon(s).  These are the most buttoned-down and legally regulated weapons in our society, and the fact that they were used in this murder just goes to show how little "gun laws" did to prevent this.
  • This isn't someone that "snapped."  The planning and execution (I apologize for using that word) were meticulous.  We don't know the motivation, but we do know that there is no question that this guy desired to kill a ton of people, and the actions he employed absolutely did so.
  • Given the hate with which this act was prosecuted, even if no guns existed in our society, do you really believe that this guy merely would have shrugged and would have given up on his murderous intent?  That sure seems ignorant.  When evil wants to raise its head and do what it does best, the tool really doesn't matter.  Evil will find a way to quench its thirst for death and blood; laws be damned. 
  • It has been asked why someone would need an AR style rifle.  Uh, for protection.  Why would I give up an inch when it comes to protecting myself and my family?  From hurricanes to Antifa, we have examples on a nearly daily basis which shows how close we are to absolute chaos.  When chaos hits, I'll be damned if I am going to be left without a means to take care of the ones I love.  
  • With people still in the hospital fighting for their lives, this morning a CBS executive posted on Facebook that “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”  How much do you have to hate people to post something like that?  Thankfully, CBS couldn't stomach someone with so much hate in their ranks and they fired her.  
This will kick off the start of a lot of talk and debate - a debate that we have covered here before.  There are no easy answers, other than evil exists.  It most assuredly exists.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Beck - Dreams

A couple of weeks ago I saw Beck open for U2 in Minneapolis.  At the time, I lamented that his playlist was older stuff, which I felt a miss as some of his newest stuff is outstanding.

Here's an example, with a video produced by a fan.  While typically those types of videos kind of suck, this one is surprisingly good.  

If the video is not your cup of tea, do enjoy the music

Just close your eyes and you're gone...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Our Last Piece of Common Ground is Gone

The politicization of our sports marks the end of any remaining common ground in our lives.  Everything is now politics:

  • Social media
  • Journalism
  • Popular culture and media
  • Church
  • Work
  • Police and safety
  • Free speech
  • Even the color of our skin
  • Sports and leisure

We as a society no longer have something by which we can gather around a water cooler and all agree.  It is now all contention, all the time.  We're all in a constant state of battle, and a side needs to be chosen.

Who would have thought that showing disrespect to the national anthem is now a side?  Trump got involved, the stakes got upped, and now kneeling during the song is not necessarily a repudiation of the country per se, but more a repudiation of him as a president. 

What happens when a segment of fans start joining the players in "taking a knee?"  I honestly think when that happens there is going to be bloodshed in the stands.

I think this all gets a lot worse before it gets better.  Where does this end?  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

NFL Viewership Down 11%

According to the latest numbers from Nielsen, through week three of the NFL schedule viewership is down 11% to last year.  There are a number of things at play here:

  • Cord-cutting continues unabated and is likely one of the culprits contributing to this reduction. 
  • The NFL has been losing popularity starting a couple of years ago, being impacted by things as vast as concerns about player safety, to off the field behavior of players, to the politicization of sports writers and ESPN.
  • People are really ticked at this national anthem mess and football is clearly losing some folks due to this.  While it likely doesn't account for the entire reduction, it certainly is having an impact.
The NFL is big business, and if a big business suddenly finds itself down 11% year-over-year, panic sets in.  Despite this, the NFL seems to not have a plan on what they're going to do, other than hoping this blows over.

Here's a hint for the NFL - it ain't blowing over anytime soon.

As one that used to do a lot of TV advertising and bought a lot of NFL commercial time, the NFL is massively expensive.  They could command those huge rates due to the audience they delivered.  Now that the audience is in free fall, advertisers can quickly find better places to spend their money.  This thing is tipping over right before our eyes.

The NFL better get their arms around this.  It can easily start impacting their season ticket base, which can then impact their ability to sell out, which then impacts their ability to broadcast games.  We're a long way from that happening right now, but that will be how the toilet circles if it does happen.

We'll see.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sunday Night Blues

For years, I used to hate Sunday nights.  Actually, it started about 3:00 on Sunday.  That's the point where the realization kicked in that work started tomorrow.

The early part of the week was the worst thing, too - lousy meetings, way more work than time (or support), and a full week with little let-up.

I'd usually make the mistake of digging into my email and realizing just how much I had to do.  I'd usually try to crank out a couple of hours of work to try and get things organized, but progress was hard and the whole process seemed futile.

The depression was real and deep.  I'd become sullen, and start thinking about the impending week and what was ahead.  Often times my wife would ask, "What's wrong?" and I'd simply reply "Sunday."  

The night was usually capped off with a fitful night's worth of sleep, followed by a too-early rise and departure to another week of battle.  

Now?  Sunday is awesome.  I actually enjoy the day, and by that, I meant the whole day.  I'll check email a couple of times, but now see an inbox that is orderly, and hasn't been besieged by folks working over the weekend, or worst, requests that demanded answers immediately.

What's that worth?  It is hard to put a price on happiness or sleeping like a baby on Sunday night, but I have a feeling it is worth a whole lot.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kneel on This

I'm aghast at our President.  His speech and tweets are not helpful, and instead of focusing on things like a promised tax cut, he's wading into popular media food fights.  He's proving himself a buffoon and mental lightweight. And he seems to revel in it, which is downright scary.

That being said, I'm more aghast at the NFL players that can't bring themselves to respect the country via behaving properly during the national anthem.  Poor, spoiled, sheltered, ignorant, selfish pigs.  They live lives that are better than 99.9999% of all of historical humanity, and the exceptional country that is the United States provided it to them.  Yet, we're not perfect, so instead of being grateful for what is here, they choose to "protest."

Here are some real protests, jackasses:

  • If this country is so vile, how in the world could you pay millions in taxes to it?  Hell, your funding this racist hell-hole.  I suggest you stop immediately.
  • Speaking of money, our economy was based on rape of the earth, subjugation of native peoples, and slavery.  How in the world can you accept legal tender from such a vile entity?  
  • When Pat Tillman believed in something, he quit and put his money where his mouth was.  I'm sure Black Lives Matter could use your help a hell of a lot more than your teammates could.  How about you quit?  Like right freaking now. 
Of all the bullshit on display yesterday, here's the one guy that went out there and did the right thing:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Song Share: The Bros Landreth - Our Love

Sweet harmonies, and really tasty slide guitar.  The blues lives - check it out:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Another Duck Opener

Tomorrow arrives yet another duck hunting opener; something I've participated in for at least 45 years straight.  It's hard to believe it has been that long, and it is hard to believe that so many are etched into my head.

This year will be a different one.  We'll be besieged by thunderstorms, which is not at all conducive to duck hunting, especially when one considers that I'll be sitting in a metal boat, holding onto a steel gun.  Thus, safety will rule the day, and at the first sign of lightening, I'll be off the lake.

It doesn't help that I'm also suffering from a doozy of a cold, which makes sitting in the cold rain all the much worse.  

While it is shaping up to be one of my worst openers ever, it is still the opener, and that means you will find me in the swamp.

Good luck, Minnesota duck hunters.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Adam Thielen - Detroit Lakes' Hero

Here's a little montage of the improbable rise of a hard working kid from little Detroit Lakes, Minnesota:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Walmart's "Many Chairs"

In attempt to replicate Coke's "Teach the World to Sing" campaign, the biggest brick and mortar retailer is cramming a "let's all get along" message down consumers' throats:

It was complete with all the stereotypes you'd think, and all of the trendy political groups got dutifully checked off.  

Except one, of course.

There was no representation of Antifa.  If there was, that white guy in the office chair would have totally been getting his ass kicked by some masked punk carrying a black flag.

Swing and a miss, Walmart.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Being Bald Pays Off

Recently the University of Florida published a report that stated that bald men were perceived to be more attractive, dominant, and intelligent.  

I could kind of guess the latter two, but the attractive part is a nice find.  

You can check out a story on the research here.

All you full head of hair guys can read it and weep!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ben Shapiro Drops the Mic on Abortion Debate

The older I get, the more abortion really rubs me the wrong way.  I think it is because of what I've learned, which is definitely a factor of age.  I've learned a lot of human biology and what constitutes viability.  I've learned a lot about how abjectly racist the practice of abortion is.  I've learned that this "simple procedure" can lead to mental and emotional issues that can manifest for decades, if not lifetimes.  I've also learned that I have a number of friends that were adopted, and how my life would be far poorer had their biological mothers chosen to abort them.

A lot was written about Ben Shapiro's speech at Berkley, given Antifa's desire to shut it down.  Antifa claims that Shapiro spreads hate, but I think that the real reason they want him silenced that he can mop the floor with core liberal ideology.  

Here's a great example:  

Quick, logical, reasoned, consistent, smart, steadfast.  I so have a man-crush on Shapiro, based primarily on his debate skills.  Just for that reason alone I'd love to see him run for higher office.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tonight is Big Sexy Night

Tonight at Target Field we are going to celebrate all things Big Sexy.  He's Bartolo "Big Sexy" Col√≥n, he's close to 300 pounds, and he's 2017's version of Juan Berenguer.  

He's also a big reason (no pun intended) that the Twins are in a playoff race.

Come to the field and get your Big Sexy shirt.  It is just a rumor that they only come in 4X.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Twins Set Home Run Record

Last night the Twins hit a home run in each of their first seven innings.  It has never been done before in MLB history.

Sorry I can embed the video - the MLB Nazis refuse to share their content.  Just check out the link and enjoy the fireworks.

Hope they can keep this up as they close on a playoff spot.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rapala Has Done it Again

Previously I've written about how Rapala has done such a great job on their billboards.  Here's their latest installment:

In researching this post, I ran across a Reddit site which was discussing this campaign.  A number of people posting there didn't get it.

Seriously?  If you've not seen the Three Stooges, I truly pity you.

Monday, September 11, 2017

U2 Concert Review and Setlist - Minneapolis, US Bank Stadium

I finally saw U2 live.  For somebody that loves music, and loves their music, I have no excuse for missing them to this point.  I was glad to finally check them off my list, which leaves me with just one more band to go (yes, Foo Fighters, I'm talking to you).

I was supposed to be seeing this concert with my sister, which I would have loved more than words could say.  This concert was done featuring an entire performance of the Joshua Tree; arguably their greatest work, and one of my sister's favorites.  I thought about her throughout the concert and wondered a lot of what she might of thought.  Likewise, I felt pretty sorry for myself for missing her company for what was a great performance.

Here is the setlist, to the best of my recollection, with some notes:

Sunday Bloody Sunday - I remember first seeing this song in video during high school back in the 80s.  It still sounded fresh and wonderful.
New Year's Day - 3rd favorite U2 song of all time.  Interesting to see The Edge move between guitar and keyboards.
Bad - An OK version
Pride (In the Name of Love) - Was surprised at how much energy they brought to a song they had to play a million times.  Well done.

The Joshua Tree portion of the concert then started:
Where the Streets Have No Name - When this song started, my mind instantly went to their Super Bowl performance and I got really emotional.  While not as dramatic as their post-9/11 performance, it was still virtuoso:

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - I'm just not the biggest fan of this song, which is too bad as it is lyrically one of their strongest.  Still, a good effort.
With or Without You - This one felt a little tired.
Bullet the Blue Sky - My second favorite U2 song of all time.  Unfortunately, I've seen too many incredible versions of this song that their performance left me a little wanting.  Felt a little like they went through the motions.
Running to Stand Still - I have slowly moved this song up my favorite ranks.  Strong performance.
Red Hill Mining Town - The surprise of the night.  Performed in front of a video of a brass band, it sounded incredible.  Maybe their best song of the night.  I'm not kidding.
In God's Country - This one felt like they went through the motions.  Not great.
Trip Through Your Wires - Better than expected.
One Tree Hill - Pretty darned good version.
Exit - Really good version.  It is funny, the end of Joshua Tree is arguably the least popular, but they really seemed to work hard on those songs.  That's one of the reasons why they're so incredible.

Beautiful Day - Great version.  Incorporated portions of "Most Beautiful Girl in the World" at the end, which worked well.
Elevation - Loved this version.  Bono's voice is just incredible
Vertigo - Outstanding version!  So much energy.
Mysterious Ways - Just OK.  Had a fan come up and dance, and that was a touch annoying.
Ultraviolet - This is another favorite song, but was done as a celebration of women.  Nice message, but really?  It's 2017.  Do I need to have a screen flashing with influential women playing in front of me to recognize the importance women play in our society?  Maybe I'm lucky I've had the women I've had in my life.  Wife, mom, sister, many bosses, many other peers, many other coworkers - countless women that have influenced me and made a difference in the world.  Of course Hillary was flashed up and the crowd went nuts.  Are we ever going to move on from that election?  I know they're preachy, but this almost seemed needy.
One - My favorite U2 song of all time. Got choked up again at the end when they lyrics hit:
One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to carry each other

Carry each other

I so missed my sister at this point.  It would have been a hell of a time to share a hug.  Bono tried for a sing along with "Purple Rain" at the end, but the meter of the song is such that it is hard to know when you need to come in, and it was unfortunately an ugly way to finish as the crowd totally botched it.  

Regardless of the finish, the concert in total was outstanding.  It was a great check of the bucket list.

Some last thoughts on U2:

  • The Edge is a hell of a guitarist, and while Bono is the soul of the group, The Edge is the circulatory system.
  • Hard to believe how relevant this band has been for so long.  Their latest release is currently at #1 on iTunes.  No band of their peer group can boast the same.
  • Bono conveyed a genuine appreciation for his lot and that he gets paid so much to do something that he loves so.  This didn't seem rote or canned.  It was really heartening.

Beck opened, and was really strong.  Unfortunately, he focused nearly all of his effort on his oldest (and most popular) work.  That's too bad as he's made some really incredible music of late.  With his tight band, it would have been fun to hear some newer stuff, but I understand that when you're the opener, it's best to feed the limited crowd some red meat.

Beck as well did a hat tip to Prince, which must be obligatory for any band playing Minneapolis for the next decade.  He did a nice little version of Raspberry Beret that actually worked really well.

Overall, it was a great night.  Go see this band if you have not.  As a music fan, you owe it to yourself to do so

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Watching Religion Die

Pew has come out with a recent survey which has gained a lot of notoriety as it shows that white Christians are now a minority in our country.  Beyond that, check out these stats:

In a scant ten year period, the amount of people that are unaffiliated with any religion has nearly tripled, and now represents something in the high teens of our population.  Every other religion has shrunk markedly, with the exception of Mormon and "Other" which is likely Islam.  

Europe has moved a much quicker trajectory, and we appear to be following in their footsteps.

Where will we be in another ten years, and what will the ramifications of that look like on our society?

Twenty years?


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday Song Share : Heart - Mistral Wind

For Heart fans, this is arguably the most popular "album cut" of this band's library.  With shades of Zeppelin, Ann Wilson's incredible vocals, and outstanding guitar, what's not to like?

The question gets begged: Is Ann Wilson the finest female singer in rock?  Hard to argue against it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Generic Millennial Ad

There's a lot out there from an advertising standpoint trying to understand, and then appeal to the Millennial generation.  Most try too hard.  While the attached is satire, it's not that far off from the truth:

This Is a Generic Millennial Ad from Dissolve on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Iowa Football's New Tradition

In this stupid world of ours, here comes some good news for a change.  Hat tip to my brother and to Murphy:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Passing of Walter Becker

I'm really at a loss on this one.

I was out of town over the weekend, and didn't even know he died.  When I heard, it hit me really hard.  Probably harder than the loss of any musician to this point in my life.

I'm not sure why.  I do love Steely Dan - they're perhaps my favorite band.  Aja is easily in my top 10 albums of all time.  Maybe that's why.  Maybe I'm mourning never being able to see them again.

Becker had his demons.  I hope they didn't catch him again at the end.  In the meantime, he left us some gifts.

Enjoy his guitar work on this first one - really tasty:

I'll also miss Becker's musicianship as he produced one of my favorite albums (Flaunt the Imperfection) from one of my favorite bands (China Crisis) of all times.

Here's a taste:

Rest in peace.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Why Muslim Acid Attacks Don't Happen Here

The UK has witnessed a significant rise in the amount of acid attacks it is seeing.  You can read about it here.  The way it works is that a victim on a bike or motorcycle is approached and has acid thrown in their face.  As their flesh and eyes burn the perpetrator takes their fallen bike and rides off

Why are these increasing?  Because the Muslim population is increasing.  Muslims have used acid as a weapon for years.  It is usually reserved to disfigure females that have "brought dishonor" to their families by their behavior, but has now gone mainstream.  It is a heinous, but highly effective weapon. 

Why is this not happening here?  Two thoughts:

One - Thankfully, our immigration policy has been far more conservative than the UK.  Our friends across the Atlantic are now reaping what their immigration stances have sown.  

Two - The Second Amendment.  Check out any comment board after a major shooting and check out the comments from the UK on how backward our gun laws are.  But you know what?  Folks over here are not getting acid thrown in their faces because if you guess wrong and your victim is carrying, you might just die.

Acid.  Seriously.

Religion of peace...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Roger Waters & Paul Carrack - Hey You

Paul Carrack may have the most under-rated voice in all of rock and roll.

Check out the end of this song to see how incredibly he nails this:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Real Hate Speech

We're all worried about Nazis.  We're all worried about hate speech.

Check out this video.  If you don't have time for the whole thing, watch Horowitz tee up a question at the 2:00 mark, and look at her chilling two-word answer to him at the 3:10 mark:

You want some hate speech?  THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what hate speech looks like.

Where's the Antifa now?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Being PJ Fleck

ESPN has a program running that follows the Minnesota Gophers new head football coach.  It is absolutely fascinating.

When PJ Fleck came into town with all of his bluster, I felt for sure that it had to be a show.  It was a show we had seen before, too.  Glen Mason had a ton of that motivational talk, and he took the program nowhere.  Hence, I felt Fleck was a total reach, especially with a guy like Les Miles out there looking for work.

Oh, I knew what Fleck did in four years at Western Michigan, and it was damned impressive - from one win his first year to an unbeaten season at year four.  Still, that was Western Michigan.  The Gophers play the real Michigan schools.  Would this schtick play in the Big Ten?

Based on a buddy's recommendation, I watched the first episode of Being PJ Fleck and was instantly enthralled.  A few things that I found astonishing:

  • He has an incredible motor.  I've never seen another human being like it
  • He's like that all the time.  It does not turn on or off.  It really is part of his DNA
  • His passion and enthusiasm are contagious as hell.  I haven't played football since high school, and even just watching these episodes made me wish to be able to go out there and play.  I haven't felt that way in years.
We'll find out where it all leads, starting with Gophers' first game tonight.  Likewise, once past the creampuffs, the Big Ten comes calling, and it is about as friendly as a Big Ten schedule can be, as we'll be missing #2 Ohio State and #6 Penn State.  Hence, if Fleck is going to make a big splash, he has the opportunity.

I've not been this excited for Gopher football since Lou Holtz.  If Fleck does what I think he can do, Saturday games look like must see TV.

Row the boat!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Geek Squad to the Rescue

The new place that we bought is fine.  Not great, but fine.  We got spoiled on our last house, as it was built like a brick shithouse.  I'm sure there was some pride in building for an NFL player, and the house showed it.  However, the new house is built more along the lines of everyone else's.

One of the challenges we've had is in getting my plasma TV mounted above the fireplace.  The brick of the fireplace undulates are varying lengths, making it tricky to throw up a mounting bracket.  Add to that the wight of the big plasma (which, as hard as it is to believe, is old technology), and this assembly is a tough one.

We contacted multiple handymen and construction guys, but nobody had what it took to take on the job.  Hence, we needed to call out the big guns and hired out the Geek Squad out of Fargo.

It took us a long time to get an appointment booked - we were out nearly four weeks.  Likewise, the job was going to be an expensive one at nearly $500 due to the complexity inherent in the install.  Ouch on all fronts.  Unfortunately, we had no other options other than to try and sell the plasma (and take a bath) and buy a new TV.  That wasn't happening.

Despite the delay in getting an appointment, once the process started it went great.  Communication could not have been better.  My installer called multiple times ahead of the appointment - to confirm times, to gain an understanding of our configuration, and to remind us of the install.  On the day of the install, they also called to let us know they were an hour out and were on their way.  

They arrived in exactly an hour.  Two guys arrived loaded down with the requisite equipment.  They donned slippers for their shoes and went right to work, all the while soliciting opinions from me on how I wanted things. Nearly two hours later, I ended up with this:

Expensive?  Yes.  Did I get what I paid for?  Yes as well.  

Thanks Geek Squad.   Well done.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hero on My Plane

In flying home a couple of weeks ago, I didn't know it, but I was in the company of a hero.

Upon landing, our captain informed us that we had a uniformed officer on our flight who was accompanying the remains of a fallen soldier.  He asked that once we arrive at our gate, we remain in our seats, let that officer off, and allow the casket to be unloaded from the plane.

Knowing how people can be raving idiots, especially when they travel, I wondered how people would react.  Would they look to depart right away?  Would they truly sit there and wait?

Nope.  Sit there quietly is exactly what they did.  The whole damn plane sat there reverently for 15 minutes while the fallen soldier's casket was removed from the plane and driven away.  It was beautiful in its solemness and respect.

I was proud of my fellow travelers.  That's something I don't think I could have ever said before.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Prayers for South Texas

Image result for houston flooding

The images are horrific, and it's not over.  Rain could continue for days.

I'm not sure how things ever get back to normal in this area.  The devastation is almost too much to understand.

All we can do is offer prayers, and donations.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Kiss - Black Diamond

You may not have thought I'd go there, but here we are.  The original lineup doing their best song of all time.  Good version, too.   Paul's guitar intro is really cool, Ace's solo was awesome, and Peter Criss' vocals are really strong.

Rock and roll:

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Real Racists

Every day.  

A 9/11 of nothing but black babies every two weeks.

Not by the cops.  Not the Nazis.  Not the KKK.

Just Liberals.  The ones that get uptight at racial disparity everywhere except when it comes actually bringing black lives into this world.  Then we should murder as many black folks as possible because choice.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Justice in Phoenix

This has been everywhere.  I don't care:

A couple of points:

  • You can't tell me that cop wasn't aiming there.  Talk about being able to call "bottom shelf" and nail it.  Bet his buddies are still buying him drinks over that one.
  • The rescue man wearing the Kaepernick jersey is just too rich.
  • You can pick up a canister and throw it back at the cops.  You can wear your bad ass gas mask.  You can be the baddest Antifa jackass at the riot.  However, one well placed gas canister shot can leave you on the ground crying for mommy.  Not so tough now, eh, Bucko?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 Duck Forecast

The numbers are in, and we're looking at another outstanding flight of ducks through the country this fall.  While mallards are off over 10% from last year, they're still 34% over their long-term average.  They're offset by big increases in Blue Winged Teal and Gadwall.  

Hopefully, the weather cooperates and we don't get that early cold front that pushes all of the teal out of the state like we usually do.  

Looks like a good year - fingers crossed.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Pilotless Planes? No Thanks

In the techie quarters, driverless vehicles are all the rage.  "It's only a matter of time!  The technology already exists!" they often exclaim.  A couple of hard questions they never answer:

  • How does the AI model for the unavoidable accident?  Who dies in that situation, and what's the logic used?
  • How will the AI compensate for animals?  Ditto freezing rain and snow?
  • How in the world would we ever hope to safeguard the travel grid from being hacked?  If a madman in Barcelona can wreak so much havoc, what could a team of hackers in Tehran pull off?
The latest discussion is around pilotless planes.  Check out this link.  

Indeed, most flight time is already driven by computer, and savings by doing away with pilots (both in time and dollars) would be massive.  As a flyer, there's only one major problem I have.  If I'm going to be subject to the physical laws at play during my flight, I want someone that can control the situation feeling the exact same thing.

Want to fly through that thunderstorm?  Only if your ass is strapped into the pilot's seat and you get to take the ride with me, Bucco.  

If my plane has no pilot, it will also have one less passenger.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Byron Buxton Inside the Park Home Run

Check this out.  Even with not totally hitting 3rd base at the best stride, he makes incredibly short work of the trip around the bases:

Was fortunate to see this live Friday night.  When the ball hit off the wall, you knew something special was going to happen, and when he rounded second at the speed he did, you knew home plate was in play.

There may have been faster men in MLB, but if there are/were, I couldn't name you one.

Hats off to Buxton.  He struggled mightily until this year, and the kid is finally starting to live up to his billing as a total 5 tool player.  If his development continues, he'll be fun to watch for years.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Zac Brown Band - Enter Sandman

Up here in DL at our recent We Fest they did this exact same riff, leading into the Metallica classic:

As I volunteered to work our shirt booth for work, I happened to be there.  I also happened to be wearing my Metallica t shirt:

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

At least one guy was there ready to rock.

Aside: I once used the intro to this song as my "walk up" music to a speech I gave.  It literally is one of my top ten career highlights, and is the closest thing to rocking out on a stage that I'll ever do.

Friday, August 18, 2017

New Ankle Brace from Amazon

As I'm rehabbing my ankle, my doc suggested some ankle suppression socks.  Nothing fancy, just something to help the circulation in my injured area.

I headed off to Amazon and found the socks shown below.  They had high ratings and a decent price, so why not.  This is what I got:

  • They're "Nkle Support," which is just an "A" away from what I was looking to get
  • They're also "Best Quality," which just rocks
  • And look, they come with Boots Circulation as well.  Bonus!
  • Hold it just a freaking minute.  "Reduce Swilling?"  I didn't sign up for that.  Not at all.
I wonder what Amazon's return policy is?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Where the Historical Purge Leads

It is astonishing to me to see the desire by so many on the left to entirely purge any touchstone that exists to our country's history before the outlawing of slavery.  We've just seen the very start of elimination of flags, statues, names, and other items that fall on the wrong side of 2017 sensitivities.  In fact, I believe that this process will continue until all offending images, symbols, and names have been purged from our national consciousness.

Once we're there, will we be in alignment?  Will our world finally be made alright?  Of course not.  In fact, race relations will likely be far degraded from the sorry state in which we currently find ourselves.  

But all offense has been removed.  What now will balance the field and reconcile us for our sinful past?

One concept: reparations.  

Indeed, the purge of our history won't be enough.  We must atone for what our forefathers did, and the only way to do that is to pay up.  

We're quickly moving toward a world made up of those that pay (or force others to pay) or those that are deemed racists.  Two camps - two camps only.  Kind of like now, but with a lot more at stake.

Buckle up.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Checking Out in Seattle

I made my way down to my major-franchise hotel lobby in Seattle last week, looking to check out ahead of my 6:00 AM Uber ride to the airport.  I was a little bleary from a night of not sleeping as I never sleep well ahead of a travel day.  Thankfully, the hotel had a fresh hot pot of Starbucks Pike Place, and the joe was a positive jolt to the system.

I made my way to the front desk to hand over my room key and looking up at me from behind the desk, I saw this:

While this is obviously Phil Hartman as his great character Susan, I'm not that far off.  Horrible wig, worn askew.  Makeup everywhere.  Stereotype fake female voice.  It was as much of jolt as the coffee that was flowing through my system.

I didn't expect it and was taken aback.  This person's look was not one of trying to look like a gender in which they biologically were not.  This person's look was "I'm clearly going to look like a man horribly made up to be a woman..."

Furthermore, implicit in that look was "...and you're going to have to deal with it."

I've seen a lot of cross gender folks, and don't care about it or them.  In fact, such confusion on something as innate as one's gender has to be a horrible and conflicted way to live, and I've often felt a lot of compassion for their plight.  It has to be incredibly hard - way harder than I could hope to understand.  

Want to know how hard?  The suicide attempt rate for transgender folks is 41%.  That's not a typo and I'm not missing a decimal.  

I don't care what you do or who you love.  As long as nobody gets hurt, it's none of my damn business.  However, when interacting with the hospitality industry, I expect to be treated as a guest (especially when I'm paying over $400 a night for a hotel room).  I don't expect to have such an "in your face" confrontation of acceptance.  

Want to be a woman?  Great.  Feeling like a man today?  Bully.  Want to "shock" me by barely doing either?  Fine as well.

Just not on my dime, OK?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hobby Horsing - The New "Sport"

There isn't a lot one can say about this, other than I feel like we're somehow doomed...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Insanity in Charlottesville

The has already been a lot written on this topic and I regret that I have not much more to add.  However, the one point that seems that can't be stressed enough is how much all sides need to tone it down.  The discourse, which starts on social media and spreads into spitting on each other in the street, has become far too heated and far too personal.  The demonization of anyone that doesn't think exactly like we do has simply gone too far.

It would serve us all well if everybody just chilled.  Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.  Social and traditional media is just way more interesting when it has some emotion attached to it, hence the worst of our communications will continue to rise to the top and will continue to fan the flames of hatred.

We're quickly losing the ability to accept those with whom we disagree.  It's being replaced with hate, and that hate is increasingly turning violent.  

I fear we've not seen anything yet...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Happy Anniversary, Mrs. YDP

23 years today.  Hard to believe that it has been that long.  

Sometimes the trail has been easy.  Sometimes it goes uphill a long way.  But through it all you're always there by my side.

Happy anniversary.  I love you to the mountains and back.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Semisonic - Singing in Your Sleep

Local Minnesota band done good.

Singing up to a Capulet
on a balcony in your mind